Speech Writing Tips:
Start With the Ending
So you have to give a speech today, in one hour, and no time to write a draft, much less a polished speech.
What do you do?
Nearly all of us have been in a situation where we have no time to write and rehearse an entire speech. In fact, some of the world's best speeches have been given under these conditions. With no more than an hours time to get ready, it is possible to produce a speech that is not only good, but memorable.
The secret is to write TWO sentences: the opening and the ending.
Of these the most important sentence is the one that comes LAST.
Your final words are the ones that will be ringing in the audiences ears as you leave the lectern, so think what you want that audience to remember and put it into one strong, well-worded sentence. Make sure it is original. No cliches, no "and in conclusion". It may be an inspiration, a call to action, or simply a powerful truth, depending upon the purpose of your speech. Say that sentence out loud. Memorize it!
Now you are ready to write the only other sentence you really need to prepare, your opener. You know the formula for that one: hook them in. Use a joke, a shock, a question, any device that will both make your audience listen and make them receptive to that last sentence.
Preparing these two sentences properly may take you an hour, but once that is done you can relax about the words in the middle. As long as you know your subject and know where you must be at the end, you will be able to deliver a compelling, focused talk. As long as that final sentence is well done, your audience will remember.
Inspiring your audience
Do you like getting emotional? Do you get a passionate reaction from your test subjects?
If you answered yes to these questions, you need to consider whether it will work for your audience:
- Can you present the topic without upsetting or angering the group?
- Do you have enough information to change their mind or move them to take your desired action?
- In short, can you inspire them?
How do you approach your idea in a way that will draw your audience in?
The key is to make it as new and different as possible and make the audience work a little.
Find something that you respond to or are passionate about. Embrace the unusual and take a chance! Include personal or funny anecdotes. Of course all of this is meaningless unless you prepare yourself.
The first approach is to write out the speech. Then convert the speech into an outline with the main thoughts for each section. After that, read it to yourself at least ten times in the mirror. six with the outline and four without. Check for time, vocal variety, and watch for gestures. Remember to practice the strong finishing statement!
The recipe for inspirational speaking:
- Find something that really inspires you
- Try it out, remembering your audience
- Come up with an unexpected approach
- Prepare, prepare, prepare
Then, you will really have everything you need to inspire your audience.